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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Close, but no cigar”

Koby Gray Upchurch
Koby Gray Upchurch/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Take Back The Night

After losing three straight to the No. 8 ASU, the Arizona baseball team needed to come up with the victory in it’s final meeting of the season against its in-state rivals. But a solid offensive performance by the Sun Devils clipped the Wildcats chances as they fell 4-3 in Tucson last night.

Arizona (24-16, 6-10 Pacific 10 Conference) starting pitcher Kurt Heyer got hit early, as a second inning Sun Devil rally led to three earned runs coming off of five hits from the right-hander.

The Wildcats responded with two runs in the home half of the inning, but the one-run lead was enough for the Sun Devils (29-9, 12-4 Pac-10) to keep up the advantage for the rest of the game.

For Arizona, the possibility of time running out is a big factor, and with only four conference weekends left on the schedule, change needs to happen for a posseason run.

“”If we continue to lose two out of three then, yes, (we will be out of time),”” said Arizona head coach Andy Lopez. “”I think there’s still plenty of time left to do what we need to do, we need to start winning series. My god, it’s ridiculous, to win on Friday and not come out with at least two, it’s inexcusable.””

Despite coming up with the loss, the Wildcats can take confidence in reliever Bryce Bandilla’s performance.

The left hander, who’s been unable to really hit the strike zone since the start of the season, came in to relieve a waning Heyer, and pitched three innings of perfect baseball.

Nine batters came up and nine sat down, in what was easily Bandilla’s best outing of the season.

“”It feels good to come up and pitch nine up, nine down for my team,”” he said. “”I feel pretty comfortable right now, just keep pitching every single day and working hard out in practice, and it correlates to on-the-field work. I feel pretty good right now, though, so I should be fine.””

Regarding the last few weeks of conference play, Bandilla still has plenty of confidence in his team.

“”Were not panicking, but we’ve backed ourselves into a corner with the way we’ve played now,”” he said. “”We’re going to have get hot this weekend. We can’t drop another series in Pac-10. That’s really hurt us. We’ll figure it out, though.””

Although Lopez applauded Bandilla’s performance last night, the lingering problem all season has been his consistency. Due to that, Lopez’s confidence in Bandilla has yet to be cemented.

“”It was a nice outing for (Bandilla), someone give him a hug and a kiss,”” Lopez chuckled. “”But we need consistency.””

It’s go time for the Wildcats, and the formula is simple.

If they win, they’ll make the postseason, but if they continue to lose games, the season will be lost as well.

“”I still think we’ve got time,”” said Arizona catcher Jett Bandy. “”I think we have four weeks left of Pac-10 series. We’ve gotta win all of those. There’s no question flat out — we’ve gotta win all of those.””

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